The end of Windows (as we know it)

By | July 13, 2015
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So, that’s 10 years! Things have changed quite a bit in that time – I wonder what everything will be like in another ten (I’ll be greyer haired, that’s for sure, assuming I haven’t lost it all due to Alastair and Edward!)

One thing that’ll be different very soon is the new version of Windows, which is out at the end of this month.

I’ve talked a bit about Windows 10 before, and before long I’ll be going over how to do the free upgrade process if you have Windows 7 or 8. (Though my usual advice is to wait a month or two to give them a chance to sort out any bugs they discover.)

But first I wanted to explain something that’s different about Windows 10, compared to earlier versions.

In the past, every few years Microsoft have brought out a new version of Windows. I never used Windows 1, but I do remember Windows 2, 3 and 3.1 Then they switched to naming them after the year and brought out Windows 95 and 98 along with some slightly different versions called ME (Millennium Edition), 2000 and NT (New Technology).

Then they realised that calling them after a year was embarrassing if they got delayed and came out the year after they’d intended, so they switched to bringing out XP (eXPert), Vista and then went back to numbers with Windows 7 and 8.

In fact usually they’ve already been working on the next one by the time the current one is realised. There was already a team working on Windows 8 before Windows 7 was available, for example.

Straightforward enough, even if their numbering leaves something in doubt.

But Windows 10 is different (and I wonder if this is the real reason they skipped 9 and went to a nice round number). After Windows 10, they aren’t going to bring out another completely new version – that’s what they say.  Windows 10 will be the last new version they launch – the end of Windows.

It doesn’t mean that they think that’s it – they’ve got it perfect and it’ll never need to change.

Instead, they’re changing how it works. They’ll be bringing out regular smaller updates, instead of bringing out Windows 11, they’ll tweak version 10. They already do this – you probably have Windows updates turned on on your PC and every week or so (usually it’s on Tuesdays, afternoon in UK time) there are a bunch of updates.

At the moment most of these updates are little tweaks, fixing a bug about how something doesn’t work properly or changing something in the background so it’s less likely to crash or making something more secure.

But occasionally they make a change you can notice – for example in Windows 8 they add a windows button on the taskbar on the desktop screen and added a few extra bits on the start screen too.

And now, instead of bringing out a completely new version every few years, they’ll gradually tweak it through Windows updates.

It’s good and bad news. It’s good because you won’t have to buy another copy to get the new bits. And you’ll get them sooner, rather than having to wait until a complete new version is finished.

But on the other hand, it means you’ll get some changes whether you like them or not… and maybe at a time when you’d rather not have them because you’re busy with something.

You can’t turn this feature off on the home version of Windows 10 and I wouldn’t advise turning it off even if you could because there’ll be important security updates in with the others.

Of course it could be confusing, too, if something suddenly changes and you weren’t expecting it. But don’t worry – I’ll be keeping an eye on how Windows 10 changes over time and will mention any big changes that I think could be confusing. (Inner Circle members can always ask about anything that seems different in the Inner Circle Clubroom.)

A simple tip for mobile phones if you have poor signal
You probably know that sometimes if something goes wrong on your PC, the best thing to do is turn it off and turn it on again (or restart it).

Sometimes, that can help with mobile phone problems, too – and in a slightly surprising way.

If you ever find that your phone is telling you that there’s no signal it can find (or the signal is very weak, maybe just one bar), turning the phone completely off and turning it on again may just help.

What happens is this: If you’re in an area with two different signals, your phone tries to latch onto the stronger one. But sometimes it’ll get the weaker one first. It should then switch if that weaker one drops out – but sometimes they don’t.

It happens to me sometimes. At our house signal is actually not bad – and it should be good as we can see the mobile phone mast. But sometimes my phone latches on to the Isle of Man’s phone system instead. (Come to that, we can see the Isle of Man as well, and it looks a good deal prettier than the phone mast – especially at sunset.)

Then it might lose the signal to the Isle of Man system (because it is quite a way away, albeit across the sea, where signals travel better) and sometimes doesn’t switch to looking for a new signal instead of trying to keep on to the Isle of Man one. So I end up with basically no signal.

Turning it completely off, then on again makes it look again for scratch and nine times out of ten, it’ll then find the strongest signal in the area.

It doesn’t always help – sometimes the signal is actually poor in the area and it doesn’t matter which one it tries to latch onto. But there’s no harm in trying!

9 thoughts on “The end of Windows (as we know it)

  1. Walter ast

    Thanks for your news letter always as ever useful and informative how pleased I am that I saw your advert in Police Pensioner all those years ago.
    Best wishes to you and yours Walter East

  2. Trish Cherry

    Tim, I want to thank you for all the info that you provide. I have been a fan of yours now for many years, bought some of your learning programmes in the early days.

    This latest info is excellent.

    I have shared it on twitter, which will automatically link it to my timeline on Facebook.

  3. Mary Langridge

    This mentions Windows 7 and 8: what about Vista? Why isn’t the free download available to Vista users? Mind, from your comments, I am not too sure that I want to bother with Windows 10, but other people using Vista may wish to do so. Surely we are all in the same boat and shoud all be thrown the same life-belt.

    1. Tim Post author

      Yes, the free download is only for Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 7 users – not Windows Vista or Windows XP users.
      Microsoft haven’t said why they’re limiting it in this way – I wonder if they suspect a lot of PCs running the older systems won’t be fast enough to run the new Windows 10, but whether they think that or not, I know a lot of older machines can run it (I’ve tried it with some old Windows XP machines).
      It should be possible to upgrade, still – it’s just not with the free upgrade, but there’s nothing to stop anyone buying a copy for their PC. Whether there’ll be a reduced price upgrading an older version of Windows I don’t know yet – we’ll have to see what comes out on July 29th.

  4. Vera Collins

    Thank you for your latest. As always, it is such a help to have someone who knows what is going on. It is all a mystery to me but I follow your advice and find that it works. Keep up the good work!

  5. Robert I Campbell

    I have Windows 8.1 at present; so what is your advice about the offer to replace it with Windows 10 on 29th July? Should I leap at the chance, or wait and then have to pay to replace it?

    1. Tim Post author

      Personally I think Windows 10 is easier to use than Windows 8 or 8.1, so I’d upgrade (apart from anyone who really likes Windows 8 and really doesn’t want to change). But having said that, I’d wait for a month or so, just in case there are any big bugs. It gives it time for them to find them and get them fixed before you have to deal with them!
      You can still get the free upgrade for a year after it’s out, so waiting a month or so is fine – as long as you don’t forget and suddenly find 13 months have passed!

  6. David Morgan

    Tim, I’ve been a little tardy in acknowledging all the good advice and sound information you have provided since I first joined your happy band and thought I’d let you know it is very much appreciated. I’m still struggling with both computer and iPad but certainly find it a lot easier with the books you have written and the snippets you constantly provide.Thank you. David

    1. Tim Post author

      Thanks for the kind comments! It’s always nice to know the books are doing what we intend and actually helping people!


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